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234 of 260 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My review - by Morrissey
Train, heave on to Euston. Awaiting the launch of my Autobiography, Penguin Books have incarcerated me in a tawdry penthouse flat at 6 Grosvenor Square. The harsh London light through the floor-to-ceiling windows peels my eyeballs, my feet wince at the coarse touch of the cashmere and angora carpet, and as I numb the pain with a third Grey Goose, my mind drifts back to...
Published 19 months ago by Rough Diamond

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I saw a BBC4 documentary on Rough Trade and Travis appeared with a satisfied look on his face and said that although The ...
A generally entertaining book. However, he doesn't appear to have considered that Geoff Travis could have been responsible for breaking up The Smiths. I saw a BBC4 documentary on Rough Trade and Travis appeared with a satisfied look on his face and said that although The Smiths signed to EMI they didn't release anything for them. The implication seemed to be that only...
Published 2 months ago by Johns


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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The unbearable heaviness of being Morrissey, 30 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
First off I want to say that the autobiography is very well written and makes you want to keep on reading it. It starts off very well but to me it loses itself from the creation of The Smiths onwards.
I really wanted to like this book, and there is nothing wrong with whats in it, but what is not in it is even more important and casts a cold shadow on what could have been.
Examples (spoiler alerts below):
1. Morrissey barely takes a paragraph to describe the day Marr called to his house, AND YET he spends at least 50 pages minutely detailing and repeating himself ad nauseum on the Joyce court case.
2. Morrissey mentions Jake's arrival in his life but nothing about his departure, or really what it meant to him and his music. I couldn't even follow if his arrival impacted the 'Vauxhall' album or came afterwards.
3. Morrisey mentions Gelato's appearance but nothing about his departure.
4. The sentence where Moz mentions comtemplating having a baby with a woman is just that: a sentence. I couldn't decide if he was joking or not. She doesn't get a mention again until the acknowledgements on final page.
5. There is an overall negative and self-pitying tone throughout the book. It was funny at the start but annoying after 400 pages. I know I'll be atatcked for mentioning this, and I own and regularly listen to all of the Moz/Smiths albums and cds, but really it gets tiresome when a multimillionaore keeps carping about how tough their life is. I'm sorry but there it is.
6. Too much name checking of famous people. Also it shows a flip flop attitude from Moz where he now seems to think Elton John is ok when previously calling for his head on a plate.
7. Very negative towards Alain Whyte, while being gushingly positive about Jesse and other band members. I guess the quality of the musical output of the collaboration doesn't count for much.
8. The Smiths era was glossed over with tales about some US concerts. Nothing new was written about the songwriting process, how they put the albums together, what a day in the studio was like, what they liked to do together outside the studio (nothing?).
9. I didn't see a mention of what his favourite songs are, or his most disliked songs.
10. Far too much time talking about other songs and artists he likes. That's all very nice but tell us more about The Smiths, the split, and his subsequent stellar career as a solo artist. Most of his albums are glossed over like a montage in a cheap film.
11. The first part of the book was interesting and featured good never before seen photos (at least not seen by me),but then degenerates into self pitying rambling storytelling without plot or substance, bolstered by crappy photos of album covers that we already own.
12. No mention of the absolute crap 'true to you' website or the excellent Morrissey-solo site. The MozSolo site was a lifeline to people especially during the wilderness years, and I check it at least once per day since it sprang to life in the 90's. It's creator has received a lifetime concert ban from Moz, but of course none of this is mentioned in the book.
13. 55 pages about Judge John Weeks made me feel sick, and served only to make him even more well known. Weeks probably loves this book.
14. My wife advised me to throw the book into the fire after the first 150 pages but I stuck through to the end, but there was only so many melodramatic pages about US concerts that I could take. 'To be finished would be a relief'.

I could go on. I enjoyed the book (especially the first 100 pages or so) but feel The Smiths barely got a mention, and the solo years became a blur punctuated by accounts of US concerts and audience fanaticism. I really think this was a missed opportunity, unbalanced, and ultimately uninforming. If you really want to know more about Morrissey stick to his music. Morrissey writes very well on his autobiography, but I believe he has taken a self-indulgent attitude and beautifully describes events and milestones that are at best a sub-plot to the main story, which to me remains untold. I did like the way he explained his tendency towards depression and how it has defined his life in many ways, but more information onall of his amazing experiences from The Smiths to Refusal would have been welcome.

A reviewer mentioned that the book reads like a poem. If so then it is 'Paradise Lost', or more aptly 'Paradise Never Gained'.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Poetic but, 4 May 2014
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Mr. Peter Steward "petersteward" (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
Reviewing this book was never going to be easy. Morrissey blends poetry with wit and an ability to write that matches his musical output - wandering, meandering and complex. I have never been a great fan of the Smiths but wanted to get inside the man's head. Problem is he doesn't really allow us to do this. His details of spats and mischief become confusing as he dots around from one subject to another. As a study of a so called pop legend, it has limited appeal, as a piece of writing it is different and interesting. As they say you have to pay your money and take your choice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking read!, 3 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
As a massive fan of his lyrics and songs, like many others I awaited the coming of this book with more than a little curiosity, not only was I not disappointed but I was also delighted to discover how well his strong lyrics translate into his writing long form. I found I learned loads about subjects that I had only heard the headlines about as well as finding out more about many other aspects of The Smiths, his background and other people on the periphery. A beautifully written biography that finished far too soon in spite of coming in at over 450 pages long.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh for an editor!, 24 Oct. 2013
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Garmonbozia (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
The high points of Morrissey's autobiography are the wonderful descriptions of his youthful escapades including quite a lot on his family and how closely knit they were and the awful educational experiences he experienced. I shed tears when he spoke so movingly about the death of Kirsty McColl and appreciated his comments on his obvious influences such as the New York Dolls and Lou Reed. Unfortunately there is way too little on The Smiths that is of any interest - lots of whining and whinging about Rough Trade and nothing about what is his most important contribution to popular culture - THE SONGS of The Smiths! There should have been much more on his writing relationship with Johnny. I got incredibly bored with the court case. In fact I just skipped the pages where he dissected the verdict - 60 pages of woe is me myopic nonsense. Would have loved more on his relationship with Nancy Sinatra and on his major influences such as Shelagh Delaney and Elizabeth Smart. Glad he name checked the wonderful Victoria Wood. The book runs out of steam for the last 100 pages very much like his musical career for the past 20 years - you just cannot beat the songs he wrote with Johnny. However I'm so glad that this book has finally come out and it did make me chuckle quite a few times when he slags off Fergie and Burchill and I recommend it if you are a fan of The Smiths.
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113 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last to blame, and the first for praise, in a bloody 457 page act of revenge on his own career., 18 Oct. 2013
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Mr. M. A. Reed (Argleton, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
Prosaically titled, and prosaically economical with the truth, Autobiography is the most elusive, ellipetical work by an icon since Dylan's Chronicles, eagerly awaited, awash with revelation, and - at the same time - frustratingly scant on known facts, the text is utterly 100% Morrisseyesque, 457 pages of self-justifying revenge.

If you think that is a long sentence, wait until you read the rest of the book. It is essential, unputdownable, and treats fact and truth as luxuries, whilst Morrissey settles scores in what can be charitably described as one 400,000 word grudgematch against reality.

Not so much setting the record straight as putting it at the correct speed (78 rpm, of course), Morrissey levels his guns at every target he can for his cruel and outrageous suffering of success, and ensures that no one escapes without scorn except his perfect self. It is compelling reading and, for anyone with a vague interest in him, is worth a read. There's more to his life than this book, of course, so much more. And how utterly lacking in distance. History is written by the victors, and none so victorious as Morrissey. But one who does not recognise when he has won.

And what is telling, is not just what he will say, but what he will not.

What isn't here? Well, of the known facts, according to this book, Andy Rourke was never dismissed for a week, The Smiths never had Guy Pratt as a bass player for a week. The triumphant 1988 Wolverhampton concert is not mentioned at all. "Viva Hate", "Kill Uncle", and "Vauxhall And I" were never recorded with any other musicians. Compilation albums "Suedehead", "The Best Of", "The Very Best Of", "Smiths Best Vol I," "Smiths Best Vol II", and live albums "Beethoven Was Deaf", "Live At The Hollywood Bowl 2007" (as part of a Greatest Hits release), and "Swords / Live In Warsaw" do not exist. Neither do the concert films "Live In Dallas", "Introducing Morrissey", or "Who Put The M In Manchester"? Not only that, but "Bona Drag" and "Live At Earls Court" are referenced only in terms of sleeve art and spelling mistakes. The poor sales of The "World Of Morrissey" compilation rest on a typo in an advert in the UK, and not - contrary to fact - the fact that 60% of the songs had previously been on one of Morrissey's previous six albums. He seems to think that he can put his name on any old record, and the public are sabotaged from owning it by vicious businesses and incompetent lackeys, as opposed to the fact that sometimes, people just don't want to buy Morrissey records.

Equally economical is his slapdash approach : according to this book, Morrissey did not tour between late 1992 and 2004 ; no allusion is made to his touring in 1995, 1997, 1999-2000 or 2002. His controversial support slot with David Bowie - and subsequent disappearance from it halfway through - are breezed through simply by not mentioning it at all. His bass player Jonny Bridgewood is never mentioned, nor drummers Deano Butterworth of Spike Smith. Gary Day - his bass player from 1991 to 2006 - disappears without a mention. Musical players drift in and out of the ether as if they were ghosts : the reason he chose his 1991-1997 band were never mentioned, but their salaries are. His 1991-97 band were not the musicians they ought to be, and he lambasts them by default, for their lack of rehearsal and cheap equipment when he neglects to mention the band was put together quickly with little time for rehearsal, using cheap equipment, and thrown to the wolves of 10,000 capacity US Arenas within ten shows.

At the same time, Morrissey wants to make it perfectly clear to you, dear reader, that he is a saviour of everyone else and singlehandedly lifted all his musicians - including The Smiths - from a life of drudgery and council employment by merely meeting them, as if they were saved by the touch of his hand of his genius. The failures of his career are all the fault and hand of incompetent others for whom the phrase "plankton" would insult sea-life : the album "Southpaw Grammar" murdered by a label, and not, of course, by his not playing one headline live show outside of Helsinki or Japan to support it and then disappearing from the stage for two years. "Hold Onto Your Friends" charted at 42 due to EMI sabotage, and not down to the fact that he made no attempt to promote it and the song did not have a video. His commercial decline in the US goes noticed, but the fact that he did not perform live in the US for five years is mysteriously absent. Morrissey is the last to blame, and the first for praise. His lionlike genius, lead astray by the donkeys.

The last thirty or so pages capture Morrissey in oblivious non-reflective state, as he lists with all the passion of a shopping list a list of cities and brief anecdotes. After the previous 400 or so pages of breathless, chapterless prose, it neglects to ponder perhaps the very frank and open, deep conversations of mortality and direction you might expect at the close of an autobiography. Instead we get tales of adoration, and - in anecdotes that follow a confusing lack of linearity (as was often the case), where a leap back in time, or forward, of a decade can occur between full stops, as if mere seconds had passed. Morrissey is a truculent, devious, and unreliable narrator, with a clear memory and a confirmation bias that ensures that he - and only he - is ever, perpetually the voice, where no other worlds exist but The World of Morrissey.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Morrissey and I, 20 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
I will not repeat too much of many other review but to highlight a few things that mean something to my life.

Listening to The Smiths/Morrissey is where I should of stopped instead of reading this Autobiography. The lyrics he writes have had a pronounced influence on my life, whereas his life story of drudgery to pop star do not. At first it was interesting to see how the formative Morrissey lived in 60 & 70's Manchester. Then it started to get tedious when everyone was being slagged off. Eventually I was bored by the end pages listing his global tours (I could of got this information from Wiki).

Not enough back stories to people, songs, recordings etc. Abrupt endings and non related tangents made me think some of my pages were missing. I suggest dear reader, you search out Mark Simpson's "Saint Morrissey" instead.

I'm now about to start on Tracey Thorn's book.... I wonder if she too will reinforce the adage "never meet your heroes. They will disappoint you"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first half of the book is wonderful - the last half is just a giant whinge ..., 26 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
The first half of the book is wonderful - the last half is just a giant whinge - although loosing the court case would make me split blood too!
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars almost unreadable, and sadly misogynist, 22 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
Not really much to add to the many reviewers who have pointed out the dreadful prose style, except to highlight just how unpleasant his views on women are. Here he is talking about why he found males more attractive:

"...what had girls to offer? Nothing but a mangled jungle of tangled hair presented as the jackpot payoff. Honeypots sprawled as open graves, their owners doing nothing at all but letting you. The call of duty is all yours...as the owners of such Bermuda triangles do...nothing."

Candour in admitting one's misanthropic tendencies is usually a very good thing in an autobiography, providing its done with a little wit and self awareness. (Roger Lewis' success with "Seasonal Suicide Notes" is based exclusively on precisely this). Conversely, one can forgive some bad writing if the story being told is truly compelling or rewarding in some way. Neither of these things apply to Morrisey. He's self absorbed without being self aware, and simultaneously prolix with his words, and mean in spirit. He'd like it to be tragic, but it's only a bit sad.

EDIT: I've just listened to the Radio 4 "Saturday Review" review of this book. It's posted on Youtube and well worth checking out.
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3.0 out of 5 stars ... am a big Morrissey fan and although I gained enjoyment from reading this book I would say that he ..., 7 Jan. 2015
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I am a big Morrissey fan and although I gained enjoyment from reading this book I would say that he does come across as a bit of a moaner. He is a very eloquent writer, as you'd expect from his lyrics, but I didn't come away feeling that I understood the 'real' Morrissey. Maybe that was his intention. It focuses on certain parts of his life in great detail and other areas are merely brushed over. I would say it's an essential read for Morrissey fans though in spite of it's problems.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morrissey, 11 July 2014
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This review is from: Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
Honest and beautifully written. An interesting insight into the life of a very private man. Very refreshing style. Great read.
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Autobiography
Autobiography by Morrissey (Paperback - 17 Oct. 2013)
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